Environment: Architect for the Poor

Hassan Fathy is an Egyptian architect whose life was completely changed in one moment of revelation. It happened when he visited the unspoiled Nubian village of Gharb Aswan on the Upper Nile. What he saw there, he later wrote, was "a way of building that was a natural growth in the landscape, as much a part of it as the palm tree." Sight led to insight. Fathy recognized that traditional architecture, unlike modern industrial architecture, is compatible with "God's environment" of nature, climate and materials. He never looked back.

That was in 1941, and Fathy (pronounced Fott-hee), at 74, has only recently...

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